Bookish Bakes: Creme Brulee

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant - a delicious women's fiction novel set in France

Yesterday my review for the book that inspired my Bookish Bakes posts posted, The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant. I love reading about food because it gives me so many ideas. In this book, chef Sophie has traveled from NYC where her dreams went up in flames back to her family’s chateau in France, which her grandmere Odette has transformed into two restaurants and a hotel. There, she rediscovers her love of food and finds a new purpose, all while making Odette’s favorite dessert, creme brulee. So, of course, I had to make creme brulee for this Bookish Bakes post. Never mind I’ve never eaten one, much less made one, before.

But that’s the beauty of ratio baking for me. When everything is based on a ratio, suddenly it becomes easier for me to want to make things I’ve never made before. As long as I can pare it down to the ratio it’s based on, it becomes so easy. In this case, creme brulee just feels like a fancy term for custard with burnt sugar on top. Actually, I think that’s what it means. It just sounds fancier in French. Another thing to note is that the traditional flavor for French creme brulee is vanilla.

The custard ratio is 2:1, or 2 parts dairy to 1 part egg. Most creme brulee recipes call for egg yolks only, so, since I neither wanted to make too much creme brulee nor have too many left over egg whites, I just used 3 eggs and doubled the weight of the yolks to get the amount for the dairy. I decided to use heavy cream for my dairy, but milk works as well. Using 3 yolks doesn’t yield much custard, so, if you want more, use more. Just keep in mind the ratio. Take the weight of the yolks and then double it for the weight of the dairy. Oh, and don’t forget the sugar. Or the vanilla extract.


Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks (50 grams)
  • 100 grams heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • sugar for the topping

Instructions

  1. Let the egg yolks and heavy cream come to room temperature so they cook faster.
  2. In a double boiler (or a metal bowl placed over a pot of boiling water), whisk the yolks, cream, and sugar until the custard thickens. You should feel some resistance as you whisk as it thickens and, when some custard can be gently splashed onto the side and the whisk run through it, it should not come back together right away.
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Strain the custard to remove any cooked egg bits.
  5. Divide into individual ramekins and press plastic to the tops before refrigerating so a skin doesn’t form.
  6. After the custard has been chilled, apply a layer of granulated sugar to the top and then broil until sugar has melted and browned.

Creme Brulee, inspired by The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant

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